Ultrasonography or echography is a diagnostic imaging procedure that utilizes ultrasonic sound to create images of the interior of the eye. The technique is invaluable when the optical media of the eye is opaque or too dense to enable direct visualization of the back of the eye such as in severe cataract, hemorrhaging, and infection. Ultrasound may guide surgical planning for retinal detachment and trauma. Ultrasound is also used to diagnose and study intraocular tumors and is an essential approach for planning radiation therapy and surgical approaches for cancer. Ultrasound is a painless procedure involving the application of a gentle probe to the eyelids combined with a bland gel. There is no risk associated with the procedure.
As the media of the eye are usually transparent, the retina and associated structures may be directly visualized and photographed using specialized retinal cameras. Many retinal conditions such as diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration may be documented using photography. Additionally, photography is useful for evaluating the progression of optic nerve damage in glaucoma.
When photography is combined with simultaneous intravenous injection of colored dyes, retinal circulation may be studied. These techniques are essential in caring for patients with macular degeneration and retinal vascular diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusion. The test is almost painless although there is a small risk of medical problems relating to possible dye allergy and other adverse reactions to the dye.
Disorders affecting the front structures of the eye such as the cornea, iris, and lens may easily be documented using photographic techniques.
Optical Coherent Tomography (OCT)
Optical Coherence Tomography, or ‘OCT’, is a technique for obtaining high magnification cross-sectional images of the retina. Light waves are used to create the image and there is no risk associated with this test. There is no radiation in this procedure. OCT is used to monitor retinal thickness, elevation, and holes. OCT is essential for patients with macular degeneration, edema, or holes.
RETINA ASSOCIATES CARES FOR PATIENTS WITH THESE DISEASES
The physicians of Retina Associates treat many serious disorders affecting the retina and associated structures (please see an abbreviated list below). For excellent, patient centered, education on these and other disorders, as well as their treatments, we recommend that patients visit the websites of the American Association of Retinal Specialists and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
- Age-Related Macular Degeneration
- Diabetic Retinopathy
- Retinal Vein and Artery Occlusion
- Macular Hole/Pucker
- Ocular Malignancies – Choroidal Melanoma
- Retinal Detachment
- Retinitis Pigmentosa
Many serious retinal problems may be managed using procedures performed in our offices using some of the following techniques.
- Laser Photocoagulation. Using a variety of laser devices, the physicians of the Retina Associates treat vascular diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, vein occlusion, and macular degeneration. Retinal tears and retinal detachments are often treated with laser to bond the retina to underlying structures.
- Ocular Photodynamic Therapy. In this procedure, a patient receives an intravenous infusion of a colored dye that adheres to abnormal blood vessels responsible for wet macular degeneration. Utilizing a laser whose color is tuned to this dye, abnormal vessels may be treated without disturbing surrounding normal vessels.
- Intraocular Therapeutics. Retinal vascular diseases and macular degeneration are frequently treated using agents, which block the action of factors that control blood vessel growth. These drugs are injected directly into the eye. The procedure typically causes only minor discomfort. Additionally, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic drugs are injected to treat retinal swelling and severe infections.
The physicians of Retina Associates perform a wide array of surgical procedures including scleral buckling, vitrectomy, membrane peeling, laser, cryotherapy, and radioactive source placement. These techniques are employed in treating retinal detachment, diabetic retinopathy, macular pucker, complications of cataract surgery, severe infection, and cancer.